Sunday, January 10, 2016

Montepulciano - September 2015

Date of travel - September 2015

On Sunday we drove out to Montepulciano, a wine village in Tuscany a few hours drive from Florence. There are many wine regions you can visit in Tuscany- Montecino, Pecorino and Cortona to be specific. But we decided to go to Montepulciano which is home to Vino Noble di Montepulciano. It is a Sangiovese based wine, and is actually quite different than the French and California wines that we are most familiar with, where the big reds are mainly Cabernet Sauvignon. 
Also, Montepulciano is where the film New Moon shot that Italian Church scene. 
We arrived in Montepulciano on the last Sunday of August which just so happened to have a festival on the day we arrived. Montepulciano is made up of 8 different contratas, or families. Each Contrata has their own area of the town, including their own church. As is typical of European villages that means that there were 8 churches in a town of less than 50,000. The festival is centered around a wine barrel race, where each contrata has two large men push a wine barrel around the town’s streets, with the finish line being at the center of town, on the top of the hill. 
Naturally, since we had 8 people in our group, we all picked a contrata to support during the race - my team came in last place. And Dale’s team won! 

The next day, we had a full day tour of the local vineyards - we went to two vineyards, Cantina DEI and Salcheto and one vineyard in Montecino, Corte Pavone, which is a village nearby that is home to Brunello wine. 

We stopped at Salcheto to have an amazing lunch, looking up at Montepulciano. 
On the third day in Montepulciano, we spent the day roaming around the town, including spending a long lunch at Cantina Gattavecchi where we sat at their outside terrrace overlooking the valley, and a little old woman sat at the table next to us with her four friends and her tail-less cat. We only realized upon using the toilet and stepping inside and seeing a very large picture of the little old woman, that she was actually the owner. 

We stayed in a beautiful old palace, converted into a five room hotel - Palazzo Carletti. Brett and I moved rooms the second night into the luxury suite which included this remarkable view, overlooking the valley of Tuscany. It was breathtaking. 
And of course, it't not unless you indulge in scoops upon scoops of gelato. 

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